(Post-)Hardcore Continuum & UK Music Writing


this whole diversion has lead me to a lovely paragraph in that Dean Blunt The Wire interview that connects this all back to the HCC topic very nicely.

“I grew up with the jungle stations, man, that was punk for my generation,” Blunt reveals. “I mean grime was closer to punk for me, for my generation, a way more authentic English music, like jungle. I respect the anger and the rage of punk but I lost interest when I realised the kind of anger these kids were channelling. It was a little controlled for me but all I can say is as far as being British and being something that was pure rage and had no other outlet, then jungle was punk, and grime, briefly, was punk.”


Whoa. Saw @crat’s comment earlier and just finally got to reading it and then saw how fast this thread took a serous left-turn! Kudos to the overall civility btw, everyone…I was laughing earlier how I feel I’m seeing a ‘radical politeness’ that has (hypothetically) arisen in response to seeing too many go-nowhere social media squabbles. Whatever the cause, I think it’s pretty fucking fantastic.

OK, going all the way back to the interesting monkey wrench @crat threw into the thread…
" A lot of the deconstructed (shite term) or post-club like staycore uses loads of trance- or pop-references or even blatantly rips them (dinamarca) and puts them in an artsy setting by infusing some baile funk beats into it. "
What a fucking great observation, or at least one I hadn’t really considered, partially cuz I’ve definitely existed close to one such scene associated with DiS Magazine and the whole Tumblr aesthetic shit and personally seeing artists finally moving past notions of ‘good’ taste has been, to me, a very good sign for the future that has had middling present results (which is a debate unto itself). And I also wouldn’t have gone so quickly to queer culture, though, as a queer demisexual dude, I feel confident in saying that the scenes you mentioned are pretty fucking queer! It actually really helps me with a separate piece I’m working on that attempts to define and confirm the existence of a “homofuturist” aesthetic that’s existed since modernism.

And while I’m not necessarily involved with everything you’ve mentioned, I can definitely relate certain personal experiences in helping to add another angle to this discussion.

"The deconstructed scene, to me, has this active nihilistic vibe to it, as if it’s no longer worth to construct an alternative world or moment for people to step into, in the form of an event or party. I’m definitely connecting this (but I’m not yet sure how) to a nihilism attached to the whole TINA thing. "

Yes, as you said before that, you are seriously over-romanticizing it here, but it’s also fascinating for me to read as it speaks to how that scene has both presented itself and been presented in the press. It’s interesting because as someone who has self-identified as a nihilist for well over a decade, I wish I could say I see that same nihilism you do. My Immediate response was “poptimism,” the idea first advanced by Kalefah Sanneh in this NYTimes piece on rockism from 2004. It was conceived as a split from rockist biases that have tended to see pop music as ‘shite’ and ‘inauthentic’ compared to ‘real rock n’ roll’ and the whole thrust of his argument was that music critics should give equal or comparable thought to pop as underground music…an idea I don’t disagree with, at least how he talks about it in this interview with the Fader (whose content this decade is a direct manifestation of poptimism as critical practice).

This nicely sums it up:
When people hear “rockism: bad; poptimism: good,” it’s hard not to interpret that as “rock music: bad; pop music: good.” Part of what I was trying to say is that rockism actually does a disservice to rock, as well as pop, by turning rock into this humorless standard bearer for all other genres. It obscures what makes the best rock music so awesome. I’m skeptical of any regime that seems to be restrictive or predictable. I ended the essay by saying, “We have lots of new music to choose from—we deserve some new prejudices too.” The best you can hope for is that professional listeners are constantly rethinking their prejudices because there’s no way to get rid of them altogether.

OK, so far, so good, right? After all, being conscious of our biases in listeners is something that is a bedrock principle of my own site/writing and personal beliefs. But wait! Like everything else this decade, poptimism soon got watered down into a much more lower common denominator practice that nicely paralleled the rise of ‘clicks’ as the metric to rule them all, the lifestyle journalism-fication of music writing, and ‘stan’ culture. It basically became the music critical equivalent of wokeness–talk about a throwaway point that’s gonna get me blasted but I see ‘wokeness’ as a performative engagement with progressive politics. If you don’t like Rhianna, you’re a misogynist colonialist patriarchal fuck who’s also a rockist. And look, I wish I wasn’t writing those very words but from my vantage point over the past eleven years, I saw this engagement with pop music happening at a top-tier media level more than at a grassroots queer level, trickling downwards and legitimizing a kind of willful ignorance towards music history that scares the living shit out of me.

I haven’t read this in a while, but think it offers up a similar narrative:

OK, realized I might have just thrown a bit of a monkeywrench into this thread myself, but that’s really what my immediate reaction was to the question…keep in mind, post-modern theory eliminated the ‘high/low culture’ binary…except that it didn’t really. What we’ve seen this decade is arguably the manifestation of something that has been coming for a while and made much more actionable through social media et al (the ‘cult of the amateur’ and the like).

Gonna leave off there for a hot minute as obviously a shit ton has gone down but I also think the original post by @crat is in line with the whole spirit of this tread, which is about tracing how critical concepts become lived realities (and whether that even happens)…or at least that was my starting thought lol. Need to finish reading the post-political debate before I weigh in but at least wanted to respond to the original question with a different theory as explanation.


Also, to provide some more background on the whole wokeness thing and my critical position on it, this piece sums it up in a tidy two paragraphs.


Maybe this nihilism isn’t inherently connected to this post-club scene in and of itself but it’s maybe more a sign of the times which I coincidentally read from this scene? It might just be a manifestation of the whole “there are no more new ideas” so they start sampling from everything and throwing everything into the mix. Which also manifests itself in other genres like the whole livity/timedance/… sampling of everything from the HCC.

What you mention about moving past the notion of ‘good taste’ is interesting to me. While the way many scenes regarded other scenes always seemed a little elitist to me (“our sound is better than yours”), I feel like the dismantling of this hasn’t really done that much good.
To me, it is important if we identify ourself as ‘underground’ or trying to look for an alternative in music, arts, … that we indeed do so. The whole sampling/playing of pop-songs gets stuck on an overly nostalgic or melancholic level and hardly ever offers me anything real to grab onto. It doesn’t feel like some sort of witty commentary to me, and if it is, it’s just in a reactionary way to other music scene’s self-reference (techno, house).
This connects to the idea of poptimism you mention, where the more artsy your setting, the more it is frowned upon to not like pop-music. I personally have a really hard time connecting to most pop-music and pop-culture as it often feels way too forced/constructed/commercial to me, so this poptimism is something I’ve really been struggling with.

Finally, to get back to @Esquilax.
I think my statement was a bit of an overly contrarian one. It came from a certain frustration with the current hype around political art and what @zurkonic’s last article mentioned as the woke-olympics.
Everytime a twitter-feud erupts around a certain artist, it’s a race for which festival can be the first to drop him from their line-up and cash in on the free press that comes with it.

Maybe post-political isn’t really the right term, as there is even a “political turn” in the arts today. I think post-ideological feels more suiting to me.
Thanks to one of my housemates, I read part of a book (too active to act by BAVO, but it’s in Dutch) the other day stating something interesting. The whole premise of this book is that there has never been as much political art as now, but that the only thing it’s doing is reinforcing the current system. Artists work within the way our society is structured and try to better it instead of taking a step back and questioning why our society is structured this way in the first place. By doing so they are actually further cementing a fundamentally unfair system by bringing little consolation here and there, but never really changing anything fundamental.
So there is definitely political art, doing good things in race, gender, class & sexuality as you mention. But I feel like it seldom offers a broader reply to some of our societies problems and focusses on making small adjustments. I do still think they’re important though, it’s just that i feel like they fall short in some ways.
I feel this closely connects to the idea of post-ideology. Nobody has anything better to propose, so political art is just a bandage on an open wound without proposing a fundamentally different way of seeing things.

Anyway I hope I’m a little more clear and a little less edgy now.


Coming from a position of seriously scepticism about the whole ‘identity politics’ game, I think Dean Blunt had some good points in that panel discussion. And yes, ‘blackness’? What is that supposed to mean?

And I probably shouldn’t say this as I am merely a white european male, and even quite old, but the more focus there is on group identification and victimization the more other self-appointed groups will use the same arguments and strategies, warranted or not (say hello to alt-right and Generation Identitaire) and this fuels nothing but stratification and self-segregation. I really hope that all questions on racism and discrimination soon get a serious discourse update, so that we don’t risk polarizing, and to understand the problems better.

Also, in keeping with the thread OP, this is Jeff Mills quoted in Energy Flash:
“The music that I make now has absolutely nothing to do with colour. …The mind has no colour. There’s this perception that if you’re black and you make music, then you must be angry. Or you must be “deep”. Or you must be out to get money and women. Or you must be high when you made the record. It’s one of those four.”
Then SR comments : “To which you might respond, what’s left? If you remove race, class, gender, sexuality, the body and the craving for intoxication what exactly remains to fuel the music?”

There’s a lot of critique of (minimal) techno in Energy Flash (Robert Hood dismissed as doing calvinist “bread and water”-techno etc), and while not completely wrong (and I loved the book btw) I think the above comment illustrates how at a whole the book is relying way too much on an almost vulgar historical-materialist notion of art as just an expression of an underlying dialectic within a very simple “oppressor-opressed” model. So in many ways I agree with @zurkonic posts in this thread that the whole conceptual game around this needs to be re-adressed with other theoretical models.


It’s so good we can have all this back and forth here. How would we even do this on Twitter? You’re right that DB and GK’s projects are totally different from each other, and I definitely agree there’s a lot going on in both that’s really important. It’s more the fine details about really challenging stereotypes that I’d like to see go further in what they do, especially from a UK perspective, and it’s probably as much or even more about how the industry frames things as it is about what they are doing or trying to do. But I agree too that it’s a whole other long conversation. I don’t think we have wildly different views, but maybe some of the nuance was getting lost for brevity’s sake on both ends. Might need to make a separate topic sometime to explore these ideas. Loving this thread!


Definitely, and no perhaps we don’t have such different views, there’s always an essence of shooting in the dark with online chat, never quite knowing what angle each other are coming from, and things can easily get misconstrued. I don’t think DB’s way of doing things are the be-all and end-all, but just another way of tackling the same issue of stereotypes [fight or flight, or subvert] and opening people up to new things. I think he has been slightly radicalised by the fact that media do constantly try to frame things in terms of race, or just think it’s pure satire, even if there’s a joke or three in the work.

Also, I do want to add that none of what’s been said here has been to belittle or cast away all the amazing work being done out there, it’s all so important in it’s own way. One of the key things that is going on at the moment is that all sides seem to be trying to subvert and expand and extent stereotypes and perhaps the outcome of that is a culture more cloudlike, nebulus, and fertile, which is nothing but a good thing to me.

Anyway, perhaps we should set up a separate thread (if this one hasn’t already moved on), as there are so many rich pickings in this thread that could be dealt with if we weren’t all trying to strangely stick to the HCC. [although we are definitely still somewhere in the topic of UK music writing]


Just want to say that whilst I don’t feel anywhere near capable of contributing to this thread, it’s a fascinating discussion that I’m enjoying immensely & the very fact it can happen (esp. so coridially) in 2018 gives me much hope! Thanks!


Hey y’all:) Was smiling reading everyone’s above comments, especially @chava, @Esquilax, and @ETC as they’ve been adding fascinating tangents and differing (but similar maybe?) perspectives. And cheers to @crat’s recent joining. Now, this may be a bit of back-patting, but having just read the thread’s development since last posting with an unfinished rambling of ideas, it’s funny how much I’ve had different posts from different points jumping into my writing and reading…I’m afraid @pilhead made reading at least Jeremy Gilbert and Ewan Pearson–yet, that Ewan Pearson–another late read (or re-read with Energy Flash to whom I owe this friend’s total sweetness in sending over a copy from London.

Anyhoo, I’ve been laughing in my head a lot at the discussion surrounding my earlier, flippant comments about Marxism as I’ve been reading a book (one I believe I mentioned earlier in this thread) that is a Hegelian philosophy of art about the avant-garde that I have found _beyond riveting:


As I’ve been hella busy trying not to get evicted and work on all my non-paying projects, I figured I might as well share a portion of text I wrote summarizing much of the book’s over-arching ideas as not only do I find it utterly incisive, its focus on the ‘art world’ is an almost token one as almost everything he’s written I’ve found very helpful in articulating and developing some of my thinking on this current historical moment and music’s role within it (as well as a perhaps romantic fixation with the avant-garde…for as Buttechno so elegantly put it (though I failed to post the following quote at length from this interview), as I’ve been writing down a lot of very long quotes/excerpts lately, the fact I can just copy and paste this is too wonderful to pass up;)

First of all, I’m inspired by crazy musicians, in the best sense of the word. Musicians who can remain open to things beyond the established conventions. I suppose you could call it “avant-garde.” Terrence Dixon is a prime example, especially for music where your selection of instruments is limited: you could have one drum machine or one synthesizer, for example, and that’s it. And he managed to create things which would be impossible to reproduce even with a large number of acoustic instruments. Music like that blows you away, and you understand how it’s possible to work with any tools.

For me, it’s important for music to contain some kind of intention that is difficult to describe in words. It’s just that sometimes something resonates inside you and you think: that’s the shit. And it has nothing to do with a specific genre or form – in techno there are limited patterns, just as there are limited dub riddims [the Jamaican Patois pronunciation of “rhythms” – Ed.]. But among the many tracks that are the same speed or use the same instruments, some find an inner reverberation and others don’t. In one of his interviews, Mika Vainio, of the Finnish minimal electronic duo Pan Sonic, said: “There’s a lot of techno stuff that somehow, mysteriously, doesn’t catch the groove.” It really is a mystery how there can be good and bad music which, at first glance, has been made according to the same rules.


And with that, this…

In his book Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde, John Roberts offers up an incisive materialist analysis of the avant-garde today. Noting how we must adjust our judgments of past avant-garde movements, he makes the first of several crucial assessments of what the avant-garde has become in the post-World War II period, citing the need “to recognize that these delimiting conditions themselves are not fixed. If in the the 1950s and early 1960s the historical avant-garde seemed largely utopian, and I the late 1960s and early 1970s a pressing if short-lived revolutionary demand in the wake of May 1968, today it seems like the grammar of a viable and active art production….When the social constraints on art are pushing art’s field of operation and critical claims further and further from the day-to-day relations of the official art world, then the official art world begins, quite obviously to look less like the place art can be made and talked about.”

From here he moves on to his adroit critique of what he calls the second economy and the avant-garde’s relation to it. Catching us up to the present day, he writes:
This is why we need to talk in general terms about the extraordinary revitalization and revivification of many of the premises of the avant-garde in post-object art, participatory art, pedagogic art, and relational and post-relational practice since the mid-1990s, emboldened as this work is in two significant and interrelated changes in the global political economy of art: the exponential rise of the artists’ ground or collective as ‘research units and the massive growth of arts’ ‘second economy.’ The second economy is that sphere of artistic and cultural activity that has little or no relationship to the primary economies of art: salesrooms, auction houses, museums, and large public galleries. But—and here is the significance of its emergence and expansion - it is where the majority of artists now labour and produce their ideas and cultivate their models, templates and networks.

While he might be talking about the visual art world, one can posit a similar change and shifting of distribution models that has both reified the mainstream in an increasingly decentralized market and allowed pockets of innovation where the focus is, arguably, largely on the music and not the hype, the backstory, the press release-cribbed reviews. Though his focus might be on the auction houses and prestige galleries that were once the primary vehicle by which the avant-garde was disseminated in art but also music, his focus on the dematerialization of the art object works for music’s adoption of streaming as the primary means of music discovery while secondary markets in the form of Discogs have emerged to facilitate the selling and re-selling of ‘specialist’ music products, often produced in limited runs of 500 or 1000 copies that change hands over the decades with the ebbing and flow of different musical trends.

-note the CCRU and Kode9’s involvement (fuck it, why be precious about this shit, eh? I’m in a forum, after all, hehe)

Moving beyond the amateur culture that has been the primary engine behind celebrity and status of the full-time artists, he writes:

This is because the second economy is the space where not only marginalized and self-marginalizing full-time professional artists work, but also part-time professionals, occasional artists, who in their combined and shared activities represent an extraordinary artistic contribution to the ‘collective intellect’ and to the pronounced shift overall to the emerging gift economy. The second economy, therefore, is weak in terms of its command over exchange-values, but is vigorous and inventive of its production of use-values (that may or may not produce exchange-value in the future).

Marxist economic speak aside, what Roberts is identifying is the fact that in the US census in 2005, “two million people wrote on their form that they primary job was as an artist, and three hundred thousand declared that it was their secondary of part-time job…But of course very few artists, about 1-2 per cent, actually make a living from selling their work.”

The reason we’re taking the time to make our ways through these dense historical-theoretical texts is due to the fact that a post-Web 2.0 critical framework—what was idealistically referred to as the ‘democratization’ of the internet back in Silicon Valley retreats in 2007—is needed to move beyond the nuum to a space in which we can start to make sense of this tradition that was once manifested through a material-cultural infrastructure has gone virtual and with it much of the organizing hierarchies and relational models through which electronic music’s myriad scenes can be made more understandable and allow us to craft a language to capture the new nuance at work in ‘underground’ electronic music.

I should also mention that I’m reading much of this through, for lack of a better term, a “DIY” frame of reference based off of my own experience is shared.

Apologies for the typos and the abrupt end…groaning at how many other crucial ideas I at least want to write down and then hopefully distill to something more succinct. Now getting go on your weekend release, right? Cuz I’m sure not working…

Oh! And please enjoy (or don’t!) this song from Ploy off that Patina Echoes Timedance comp that is baaaaallller (but also, hella nuanced)…talking to him this week, that was an interesting cul de sac we hit…“well, [nuance’ is what it’s all about these days, innit?”


on the post/deconstructed club thing, noone listens to korn or bullet for my valentine or whatever that other shit whhite band was in green lanes or around brixton hill mate. not 2 mention kingsland road.

Basically we need a mantronix 4 the 21st century.


i mean whether it’s post-hardcore continuum or not (i will argue no coss post-dubstep didn’t even have the same relation as dubstep 02-04) whats wrong with calling it techno? then it’s like thinking techno can’t have a breakbeat in it.


i agree that old bobby hood was minimal funk bringing back the essence of chicago jack trax tho in more cerebral form. but his imitators were calvinist to a t a lot of that user/primate techno was pleasant audio wallpaper for fuckers to get their E fix to. so yes absolutely the 313 can have their class blindspots, just like we all do to an extent through socialisation.

u don’t have to suddenly stop liking techno coss of its labour aristocratic roots thats fucking dumb some of my favourite music was made by posh people. but E Flash was an intervension to demystify the coding (or revealing what is behind the commodity of club culture) which u lot seem to miss.

This is the problem with liberal and to an extent post-structuralist discourse it sees the process of comodification as micro capitalistic or localistic units being expropriated by macrocapitalists. but it’s still the same capitalism, still the same mode of production that reduces everything to an exchange value. I’m pretty much heavily marxist influenced but i agree with Woebot that there really wasn’t anything socialist in club culture and there never will be. as we say: ‘one does not build communism.’


the left has been pro capitalist since 1918-1921 m8. it’s like all of u are 100 years too late.


The thing is the music as formality isn’t the central point of the hardcore continuum. otherwise tidy trax style hoover dominated UK hard house would be 100% nuum. more than garage.

The way i read Simon is like this: what power structures form the knowledge of the music? What power dynamics push the discourse forward? What are the class/race/gender polarisations?

But if you try and say how does the knowledge of the music constitute the power relations you’ll get nowhere ime. The inversion power>knowledge is important.


sorry, can’t follow you with korn and stuff like this? maybe we misunderstand each other.


rock music as sound is bad no hormonal guitars in clubs please its like shit student nights at uni. big beat was worse than jump up.

rock as industrial/rocking out like joey beltram is good tho.


Primate/User records was mainly copycats of Mills’ Purpose Maker series, not Hood’s early ultra sparse records (Minimal Nation etc). Maybe nitpicking here, but that’s an important distinction for me. Also all that tribal techno got huge in the not so calvinist (!) parts of Europe as Italy, Spain etc pretty quick got on board and with the rise of the Naples techno scene actually infused a bit of party appeal than the frankly horrible Primate records.
It’s fair to propose that the Hood/Mills axis has a more universalist/class blind angle than the more explicit (not THAT explicit tho) approach of Mike Banks, also further exemplified with Mills’ smooching with high Euro culture and distancing himself from US rap culture and subsequently Hoods religious conversion. Still I don’t buy into that power dynamic as defining musical forms or cultural adaptation. That’s way too simple an analysis, which also ignores obvious universalist elements of music expression.

Also the quality of american techno (in my estimation) over euro techno is not down to race, but to culture (funk/soul background, less club infrastructure which maybe emphasizes the auteur element contrary to especially the UK scene, where ‘scenius’/functionalism are too pervasive IMO). American techno producers are often also way less preoccupied with technical trickery and production values, which also is a thing that seems to negatively impact Euro productions, especially the UK ones.

Sorry, to derail the thread with the techno angle/non-exisistant continuum(?).


Well I don’t think any of us know enough about the detroit scene to say definitively. But i always took the 313 sound to be a more disembodied contemplative take on the mentalism of chicago i mean quite a it of acid house/dance mania/cajual well i dunno if u can even say yeah that’s house and that’s techno. Are there any on these forums who went/go to those detroit parties? i think the geographic separation of that continuum is something we think of more in UK and Europe, less in the US.

But certain sections of the UK techno scene definitely, definitely do/did have an antipathy towards hc/jungle, i just don’t know whether SR is hitting the right targets there i mean didn’t the colins play quite a bit of early hardcore on their shows and wasn’t knowledge a hard techno/early gabba club where loads of working class nutters and some rudeboys went?


Hey Y’all, been busy keeping busy, but published two reviews in the past few days, one taking in the Patina Echoes comp for Timedance and the other reviewing sevent recent EP’s from the nexus of producers I’ve been looking at. Both pieces contain quite a bit of thoughts that have matured via this this thread, especially the Patina Echoes comp as I really tried (and probably failed) to make it as beginner-friendly as possible.

Hope y’all don’t mind my sharing links from my site…but considering that’s where I began this whole project and continue to do most of my writing on it, often makes more sense to me just to share relevant links. Peace!


I wouldn’t be so sure. Listen to Bala Club productions, it’s clear that their work owes as much reggaetonas it does to nu-metal.